As a good radical Queer, I should be opposed to commercialism, and, to a large extent, I am – I love thrifting and supporting local artisans – but as a cultural American, who misses my natal ways as much as the next, I tend to buy Valentines for my friends, wear underwear I purchased at Target and the majority my dildos certainly aren’t handcrafted by entrepreneurial grandmothers who benefit from fair trade.
I don’t want a traditional baby shower, just like I didn’t want a traditional wedding. But I would love an excuse to feed all of my besties cupcakes and absurd snacks while playing twisted versions of the traditional games. Unfortunately, almost all of my loved ones – biological and chosen family – live far from me. We are spread out all over tarnation, and even if I was nearer to a solid handful of them … most of them are crazy fools who have no idea how to throw a shower, even a looney one.
Plus, most of my beloved are broke-ass artists just like I am. Not that this inconvenient fact has ever stopped me from thrifting for kids’ books and clothes to mail to my distant fellow breeders, emblazoned with the phrase “Uncle Inky Rules” but I wouldn’t actually expect anybody but me to feel included by purchasing objects. One of the best gifts I have gotten so far is a recipe for homemade wipes, which I will use until they prove themselves inferior to the kind that come out of an evil plastic box and sit in the landfill for eons or until I fall asleep while trying to mix the solution and the wee Ankle Biter screams to have its bottom cleaned at the same time.
I could probably survive in the woods with an infant and naught but some towels and a guide on edible fruits and roots. I know that most of humanity thrives in far fewer square feet than I have at my disposal and without any of the unnecessary frills and bougie gear crap that I see galavanting through the shmancier neighborhoods in my town. But do you know what makes walking to the local, organic grocery six times easier when you are up all night and toting around a Small Creature? A stroller. I don’t want to buy a stroller. I don’t want to buy myself anything but gory Halloween onesies that I think are hilarious. I find myself wanting other people to buy me stuff. I want to cash in on some of the straight privilege that my family of origin has always been so desperate for me to earn. Here it is – I have a baby getting ready to pop out! What they always wanted. So I want all of my relatives who actually have some cash and believe in overly dandled children to buy me some stuff that make sleep-deprived and desperate life easier. I want to take advantage of their desire to normalize me.
Aside from sending out an invitation for free food and dorky games, how does one notify the believers that a gift registry is ready to be picked over? So far, I have somewhat sheepishly sent out an email and social networking post to all of the cousins and aunties who communicate in those ways. The best part? Some have the good sense to just send me tips and used equipment. The worst part? Some of them love it! Many of them aren’t even going to make me feel guilty for imagining that I need ANYthing on that long registry list.
But I still want to push them a little bit, to buy me crunchy or nudity-related items. How does one highlight that the expensive breast pump would be more appreciated than appropriately-colored pairs of booties? I don’t want their appropriate junk. I only want to love and obsess over and send awesome thank yous for the booties knit by crazy freaks. From the Normals, we could really use expensive nipple cream or a crib.
I have zero problem letting Alien sleep beside the bed in a laundry basket for three months, but at some point it will outgrow that and I’ll have to go searching for a more solid cage to contain the Sweet Beastie at night. Can’t one just show up on my porch with an attached greeting card from somebody who always wanted me to be pregnant, so that I can focus on writing for another thirty precious seconds? Those thirty seconds are about to be worth more than the combined karma of eating locally, buying used garments and casting off extraneous, worldly, corporate goods.